I was recently helping my daughter, Zoe, with her homework. On this assignment, she was working on identifying antonyms and synonyms.
Homework time can be frustrating for Zoe because of her dyslexia.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding). Also called reading disability, dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language.
She came to the end of the list of words. Below are the final two words that she had to identify as either an antonym or a synonym.
Spirituality – Religious
When Zoe made her first attempt to read these words out loud, they didn’t come outright. This often happens because of her dyslexia. What was interesting to me were the words that did come out of her mouth when she attempted to read the words spirituality and religion. She said the following words.
Spectator – Ridiculous
Let that sink in for a moment. Consider the homework exercise that we were working on. This was an identifying a synonym (similar words) and antonym (opposite words) exercise.
Zoe’s dyslexia caused her to say something very profound as she misread the words on the paper.
Spirituality – Religious
Yes, spirituality and religious are synonyms. They are similar words.
Zoe read the words as spectator and ridiculous. These words are also synonyms when taken in the context of how Christianity has evolved in our western culture. Many self-proclaiming Christians attend a church where they sit and are entertained by a great worship band and good speaker for 60-90 minutes a week. That is if they attend weekly. Statistics, however, show that even what it means to be a “regular church attendee” has changed. It is no longer someone who attends a church weekly. A “regular church attendee” is now defined by someone who attends once or twice a month.
Christianity is meant to be so much more than something you passively do occasionally. It was never meant to be contained inside a building in your community that you go to once a month to hear moving music and listen to a good speaker. Christianity was meant to be something that you actively participate in. Something that radically changes your daily living. Something that makes you so different that others notice you have changed. Something that changes the course of your life and every decision you make.
We have reduced what it means to be a Christian to a spectator sport and that is ridiculous.
Zoe’s words are profound and challenging. Even though her dyslexia frustrates her at times it is a gift. It helps her to be creative and see the world in a way that many others do not. I am thankful that I sat down and helped her with her homework. Her words reminded me of an important truth that I and many others needed to hear.
Don’t allow your spirituality and religious life to be reduced to a ridiculous spectator sport. Actively jump in with both feet. Live your faith out today. Be brave. Trust God. Do not fear what others may think. You may just surprise yourself.
It is Ryan’s passion to equip and empower churches, organizations, and individuals to reach their disability communities for Jesus. Ryan comes to Ability Ministry with 15+ years of ministry experience. He previously worked at First Christian Church in Canton, Ohio as their full-time Disability Pastor. He also worked as a Church Consultant for Key Ministry. Micah 6:8 and Proverbs 31:8 best describe Ryan’s commitment to life and ministry.